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Friday, June 16, 2006
Weekend shirts for sale even if Tiger isn't wearing them

By Darren Rovell
ESPN.com

Tiger Woods missed the cut at the U.S. Open, but the biggest loser might be Nike.

The shoe and apparel giant, whose $500 million golf business is tied very much to Woods' success, plans his outfits for majors at least one year in advance. After missing the cut, Woods won't get a chance to wear a green stained-glass pattern polo ($90) and a red-textured, short-sleeve mock ($90), but Nike spokesman Dean Stoyer told ESPN.com that the shirts will still be available at stores and online.

Tiger Woods
Sunday best: This is the shirt Nike had in mind for Tiger.
"Missing the cut just means that there would be less exposure than usual as compared to what the company would get in a typical major weekend," Stoyer said. He added that the two shirts Tiger planned to wear on Saturday and Sunday of the U.S. Open were already shipped to retailers because Nike likes to have Tiger's shirts on sale the Monday after a championship.

Stoyer said Nike will still run its poignant commercial featuring Woods and his dad, Earl, who died last month, on NBC, ESPN and The Golf Channel.

But all might not be lost on Tiger. Eric Wright of Joyce Julius, a sponsorship evaluation firm, says that Tiger missing the cut will generate enough buzz to give Nike some value in equivalent advertising time.

"Nike might get a couple hundred thousand dollars in exposure from the highlights that they will show over the weekend," Wright said. "But once they get into the competition, they probably won't show as much."

Wright said that when Tiger wins a major, Nike usually gets about $3 million of exposure on the final day alone.

Woods, who entered this U.S. Open never having missed the cut in 37 majors as a professional, earns more than $20 million per year from Nike.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at darren.rovell@espn3.com.